The importance of students at GSCA

Jenna Higgins (with help from Logan Robertson)

Students are, and always have been, an important human resource at Geological Survey of Canada - Atlantic (GSCA). One look at the staff phone list is evidence enough – many names are former students! From co-op to graduate, students can be especially productive. They often bring energy and a positive outlook to the workplace and they don’t get boggled down in the non-scientific that can often sidetrack full-time staff (yes, I understand the irony). Students get experience and learn from us; and whether it’s learning through teaching or acquiring new computer skills, we gain from students too. There are many examples of students who have contributed to the GSCA, and Logan Robertson is no exception. His story exemplifies the wonderful symbiotic relationships we can foster when we hire students.

Logan Robertson: from co-op to graduate student

Logan Robertson came to us from the Geology Department at Saint Mary’s University (SMU) through the co-op program. As seems to be the case with many geologists, Logan grew up collecting rocks (he still does). With a curiosity for the Earth’s history, and his enjoyment for geology courses in high school, Logan enrolled at SMU ready to study geology. Logan’s first co-op job was with David Piper at GSCA in the summer of 2016 investigating the Holocene history of the Labrador Current in the Flemish Cap area – he even had the chance to present this work at the Atlantic Geoscience Society Colloquium in 2017. He then returned to continue this work with David in the summer of 2017, when David offered him an honours project which he happily pursued: "The glacial and Holocene history of Notre Dame Trough, Northeast Shelf".

After graduating from SMU in the fall of 2018 (summa cum laude, no less), Logan was ready for full-time work and landed a casual position with GSCA’s Gordon Oakey analyzing and classifying rocks dredged from the Arctic Ocean in support of UNCLOS. Notably, Logan sorted hundreds of kilograms of rocks (!) from Lomonosov Ridge into different rock types. And then for the second time, Logan found a thesis supervisor in his job and is now starting his Masters degree at SMU with Gordon as his external committee member.

GSCA – a good place to learn

During his time at GSCA, Logan has acquired many scientific skills including, but not limited to, laboratory techniques, interpretation of geological data, new software as well as honing his scientific conference presentation skill. His time at GSCA, however, has been about much more than just learning the science. According to Logan, his “confidence has improved vastly from interacting with all of the kind people who work here”. Anyone who knew Logan when he first started at GSCA would certainly agree that Logan has become more sure of himself and it has been wonderful to see him thrive. Experiences like participating in a 2018 expedition to Baffin Bay took Logan outside his comfort zone and he recognizes it as an experience of a lifetime. It is great to see Logan back and ready for more as he pursues his studies.



Students – we want you!

There are a number of programs available within the federal government for hiring students. Having been a student myself, and as someone who often hires students, I can always recognize the value in employing students at GSCA. Good luck to all students!









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